The Bloggess Is Now Following Me on Twitter…and Other Signs That My Plan For World Domination Is Coming to Fruition.

I don’t want to be an alarmist, but Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, started following me on Twitter. (In case you aren’t familiar – find her, follow her.  She’s hilarious…and ever-so-slightly damaged in an entirely relatable way.)

I am now convinced that between my 49 Twitter followers and 51 blog followers (yeah…I picked up 15 more by shamelessly asking people to follow me.  Who knew that would work?), my massive sphere of influence is going to creep pervasively around the globe and seep into people’s consciousness like some nightmarish subliminal message.

Just kidding.

I’m just going to convince people that the fast lane is for passing, that it was a travesty that it took so long for Rush to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and that acting like an asshole should be a misdemeanor. Or at least an infraction carrying a hefty fine.

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The Funniest Things I’ve Ever Read…

Top-5 style.

1. The first five to ten Stephanie Plum novels. I don’t have examples, but there was repeated LOL’ing…and misguided attempts to read funny passages, out of context, to my unamused husband. Yes, I’m still a Stephanie Plum devotee – mostly because if Janet Evanovich gets that hilarious again, I don’t want to miss it.

2. The Bloggess – And That’s Why You Should Learn to Pick Your Battles. I love this chick.  And this bit made me cry. Three words: knock knock motherfu**er.

3. Dave Barry defining the term TMI in this detailed description of his close encounters of the butt kind.

4. F U Penguin. The book, not the blog. Only because I bought the book before hearing of the blog. But the book is just shit from the blog…and here’s a snippet for your reading pleasure.

This bear is essentially raping my soul

So basically this totally thoughtless motherfucker decided regular bears weren’t cute enough. His solution? GIVE HIMSELF NATURAL FUCKING EYEGLASSES. Then, becoming the single cutest animal on the face of the earth, he laid on his fucking back so we could all see his goddamn belly, and then furtively glanced in our direction, thereby rendering any potential defense against his advances totally useless. Well played, Bear. I’m going to go take a shower now.

5. Shit My Dad Says. It’s a book. It’s a Twitter account. It’s effing hilarious.

“Sometimes life leaves a hundred dollar bill on your dresser, and you don’t realize until later that it’s because it fucked you.”

I’m sure as soon as I hit “publish” I’ll remember some other gut-wrenchingly funny thing I read…that I’ll just keep to myself.

Let’s hear it.  What made you laugh till you cried??

This Blog Is Entirely Self-Serving.

But, not to worry, it only has 36 followers. So I’m apparently not servicing myself all that well (that sounds a little dirty). Here’s your definition (lest you thought I was kidding about my infatuation with dictionaries):

self-serving (adjective) \-ˈsər-viŋ\ :  serving one’s own interests often in disregard of the truth or the interests of others

Ouch. I have to disagree with the “disregard of the truth” part since I obviously use this bitch to overshare constantly.

And why is it self-serving? Because 1,000 literary agents tell you that you ought to have a “platform” from which to market yourself. So me and 500,000 other aspiring authors just like me (yes, your mother lied – you are not special) run out and create blogs in hopes of building a platform. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that my 36 blog followers are not going to land me a coveted book deal. I suspect you need more like 36,000 followers before an agent gives a shit about your platform.

Bottom line? I’m only mildly interesting and occasionally funny (but only in writing – one of my BFF’s assured me that I am not at all funny in person). But I’d like you to help me serve myself and follow me anyway.

Why My Decision-Making Privileges Should Be Revoked (alternately titled: Why I’m Interesting at Parties)

So, the connoisseur of poor decision-making thing.  People continually seem to get a chuckle out of that line.  But a connoisseur?  Really?  Since I’m a fan of dictionaries (and had to look it up anyway to see if I’d spelled it correctly), here you go:

con·nois·seur
ˌkänəˈsər,-ˈso͝or/
noun
: a person who knows a lot about something: an expert in a particular subject

I would say I qualify.  Clearly, since I am not dead or in prison, I can laugh about most of my poor decisions. And, because I enjoy humor at my own expense, here is a sampling, in no particular order:

  1. 1993 – At 20 years old, deciding to drive to Vegas to marry a guy I’d only known for 6 months…because it seemed like a good idea at the time. (Yes, I know that I said “in no particular order” and that sure as hell seems like it would be “Number One,” but let’s just say it seems to be the first one that comes to mind.)
  2. 2008 – Deciding to go to law school at 36. Point of fact, I love my job, but that is because of the people I work with and not the whole “being an attorney” thing. It’s not bad, but it will definitely not hold up to a cost-benefit analysis…or a return-on-investment analysis…or even a pro-con analysis. Oddly, this also seemed like a good idea at the time.
  3. 2008 – Taking off my diamond rings on a beach in Mexico to apply sunscreen.
  4. 2001 – Quitting Intel. But, who knows, if I’d stayed, perhaps not quitting Intel would be on the list. But if it were on the list, No. 2 would not be. Dizzying logic.
  5. 2008 – (2008 was apparently a busy year) IM’ing a co-worker to speculate as to whether our boss looked pregnant…without being certain I wasn’t accidentally IM’ing my boss instead. Thankfully she was, in fact, pregnant. And she didn’t fire me.
  6. 1991 – Quitting my job and moving to Utah.  Yes, Utah (where I had no family, friends or job). Still scratching my head over this one.
  7. 1988 – Bangs.  I had curly hair.  That was never going to end well.
  8. 2000 – Thinking ‘go big or go home’ applied to tattoos.
  9. 2002 – The series of events that led to me almost being arrested on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
  10. 1991 – Jumping off that bridge over the river because, damn it, if my guy buddies could do it, so could I.  No, I don’t recall which bridge…but it was high enough that you had to hide if the cops drove by because, surprisingly, you weren’t supposed to jump from it. My (painful yet) superficial injuries from this brilliantly ill-conceived move did not require medical attention, but a kick in the ass may have been warranted.

Honorable mention goes to the dozens of times I have stuck my nose where it didn’t belong, overshared at parties, and failed to keep my mouth shut when wisdom, logic, or propriety called for it.

This is just a small sampling.  And no, I don’t obsessively catalogue and record all of my mistakes for future reflection. My OCD takes care of that for me.

Top 5 Literary Crimes Committed by Lawyers.

I was an English major before law school, but law school definitely did its damnedest to instill terrible, lawyerly habits in me that would have seriously pissed off my English professors.  And, yes, I’m going to limit this to just five.

5. Jargon.

jar·gon (ˈjärgən/)
noun: jargon; plural noun: jargons
1.
 special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group and are difficult for others to understand.

Yeah, I’m not sure I even need to elaborate on that.  Thanks, Google, for that most-perfect definition.

4. The Damn Latin.

I belong to the only profession that didn’t get the memo that Latin was a dead language.  And we use it, too.  Granted, I myself don’t really know enough to be obnoxious with it, but you would be amazed by the number of briefs I read where other attorneys have expertly woven it into their prose which, ipso facto, is annoying.  (More annoying when I have to return to said Google to look up a word. Except quid pro quo, which, thanks to Dr. Hannibal Lecter, I know by heart.)

3. Verbosity.

I challenge anyone to come up with one other profession as skilled at using 30 words when five would do. What is funny is that law school actually does attempt to teach you not to do this.  Yet, when you combine overly cautious construction and a healthy dose of CYA? Voila. Legal prose.

However, in defense of lawyers (that may possibly be the first time in history that phrase has been written), every five words superfluously added to a contract were only added after someone sued and won because they weren’t there.

2. Awkwardly Proper Grammar.

When I’m home at the end of the day, there is definitely a release when I turn back to my novel (or my blog) because I can do what I want. I can use all the sentence fragments and dangling participles I want and no one can tell me I’m wrong because it’s style, and “in which” can go straight to hell. (i.e. this is the blog in which I rant about stupid crap.)

1. Double Negatives.

I saved this for last because it’s my favorite.  As an English major, double negatives are a no-no. In legal writing? They’re freaking everywhere.  Because, God forbid, you tell someone they’re right…only that they’re not wrong. Do you know how many times I have read a court opinion where the court says that “Plaintiff is not incorrect” in his argument? (Really, Judge?  He’s not correct?  No, no no. He’s just not incorrect.) Yes, I understand that it is driven by rhetoric and not flawed grammar, but still.  You’re not fooling anyone.  If you’re not wrong, by definition, you are right. Right?  I’ll agree with its usage in situations such as, “he’s not unattractive” or “she’s not an idiot”…because those are sliding scales. Not being unattractive does not make you Chris Hemsworth and not being an idiot does not make you Stephen Hawking.

I’d like to give an honorable mention to Passive Aggressive Writing. I didn’t put it on the list because I’m a fan. Genuinely. Telling someone that “I’m curious as to the source of your conclusions” when I’m actually suggesting they’re an idiot who didn’t do their homework is occasionally the highlight of my day.

Killing Off Your Beloved Main Character and Other Ways to Piss Me Off.

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I have a bone to pick with you, Veronica Roth. I just finished reading the Divergent trilogy in about four days. Clearly, I was riveted. Couldn’t put it down. So after investing hours and hours and approximately 1,500 pages (**Spoiler Alert**) you killed the heroine!  Now, I don’t use exclamation points lightly, so clearly I was caught off guard by your betrayal.

Okay, okay.  Was it meaningful and poignant?  Yes. Was it profound? For sure. Was it moving, yet devoid of any Nicholas-Sparksian (remind me to add that term to Urban Dictionary later) saccharine contrivance? Sigh. Definitely. Was I a 41-year-old woman feeling relieved that her husband and teenage daughter were not home to see her crying through the last 30 minutes of the book? You betcha. Do I understand, deep down, why you felt like you needed to kill her? Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t only read happy, little novels with endings that could be played by Meg Ryan. A Tale of Two Cities is my very favorite novel, I didn’t curse Edith Wharton’s name after House of Mirth left me a sobbing mess for an hour, and don’t even get me started on my love for Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Maybe, in this case, I had lulled myself into a false sense of security because these novels are considered “young adult” fiction and so I expected a kinder, gentler ending for your characters (which, I’ll admit, was fairly naïve given the overall brutality of the story).

Bottom line? It was sort of the literary equivalent of someone fighting long and hard to battle cancer, overcoming it, and then getting killed in a car accident (if the car accident was representative of sacrificing your life to save those you love and thousands more…so I guess it isn’t the same thing at all). Admittedly, Veronica, I loved the books, but I’m pissed at you for depriving me of my well-earned happy ending. Now go take a time out and think about what you’ve done, Missy (killing Tris, I mean, not the whole becoming-an-incredibly-successful-bestselling-author thing…I’m guessing you’ve already given that sufficient thought).

I’m a Huge Fan of Stereotypes.

So I showed my husband my new blog and he laughed when he saw my banner photo.  “Um.  I’m not sure what you’re trying to tell people when they go to your blog.”  I said, “what?  I love that picture.  I took that from one foot away on the Louisiana swamp.”  He replied, “yeah, I know where you took it. I was there.”  True story.  He was sitting next to me.  We were in a six-seater airboat on the swamp and our guide was feeding marshmallows to the alligators.  And this little guy apparently really likes marshmallows because he came right up to the side of the boat and posed for this picture.  Or it could have been the weird distressed-baby-alligator sounds the guide was making in his throat since, apparently, big alligators think baby alligators are very tasty.  Either way, I guess he was looking for a snack.

Okay.  I’m off-topic.  Why the alligator?  Because I’m a lawyer and I didn’t have a cool, close-up photo of a shark.

“I’m So Happy For You!” and Other Lies We Tell to Avoid Looking Like a Petty, Jealous Asshole.

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I say “I’m so happy for you!” constantly.  The good, selfless part of me means it implicitly.  The other 90% of me, however, probably only means it if it was something I didn’t want, anyway.

“You’re pregnant?  I’m so happy for you!”  Totally genuine.  Thank God it’s not me.  “You’ve decided to go to law school?  I’m so happy for you!”  Having doubts about your intelligence, but still, mostly genuine (even more so if I don’t really like you and I know that you will be hating yourself and the world in general for the next three to four years).  “You’ve decided to give up drinking?  I’m so happy for you!”  Genuine (and we likely won’t be hanging out any time soon).

“You’re being published?  I’m so happy for you!”  Basically waiting for lightening to strike me down in the middle of my kitchen.  Like I said, 10% of me?  Actually pleased for your good fortune.  90% of me?  Petty, jealous asshole.  Who wants it to be me, not you.  Who wants to know how someone could have picked you over me. Who, thankfully, is a skilled actress who can pretend the shit out of being happy for you.  Cause 10% of me is. (Yes, yes, I know.  I really need to work on my asshole ratio.  It’s on my to-do list.)

Top 10 Things *Not* to Include In Your Query Letter.

10.  That you dream of being as talented as Nicholas Sparks.  (Yes, this is personal bias.  I hate him.)

9.   That you’ve wallpapered the guest bedroom with rejection letters.  (It’s possible I’ve done this – but I’m not going to tell them.)

8.   That your mom thinks you’re an amazing writer.

7.   That you feel certain all 10 ladies in your Bunko group will run out and buy your book.

6.   That between your 35 Twitter followers and 275 Facebook friends, you’ve got a solid marketing platform.

5.   That your college roommate’s cousin (who you met 10 years ago) babysat Stephanie Meyer’s kid – so you’ve totally got connections.  (FYI – Stephanie Meyer is that Mormon chick that had a dream about a vampire in a meadow and now is a gazillionaire.  Seriously.)

4.   That your characters are really “right now” and that “there’s nothing else out there like it.”  (Okay – this has nothing to do with writing, but there is a show called “Men at Work” (on…TBS maybe?) that ran promos where the actors talked about what was so *great* about the show and the a-hole in glasses says, “all the characters are so right now and I don’t think there’s anything else like that on TV.”  Right now??  Are you effing kidding me?  That promo gives me rage.  I can barely handle the promos for the stupid show – let alone sitting through an episode.  But I digress.  Don’t say that about your book.  Period.)

3.   That this is a “limited time offer.”  A limited time offer till what?  You decide to go the highly-successful, incredibly lucrative self-publishing route?  Please.  When Mary-Jo from Po-Dunk Literary Agency in Beaver, Iowa, asks to read your manuscript, you’ll send it off to her and pop the champagne you bought on sale at Wal-Mart for just this occasion. (Disclaimer: no offense to the approximately 48 residents of Beaver, Iowa.  I’m sure it’s a lovely town.  I’m an attorney.  I should be writing a book called “CYA.”)

2.   This is a guaranteed best-seller!  A) Never guarantee shit; B) Best-sellers are like The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver or The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks…meaning either you’d never be able to write something that good or you’d never want to create something so God-awful…respectively; C) I made no secret of my feelings toward Nicholas Sparks…and seriously?  The Poisonwood Bible?  She has one character smarter than I’ll ever be and I’m fairly certain I can’t write a character smarter than me.  Unless I’ve had at least three glasses of wine.

1.   That you look forward to hearing from them.  Cause you won’t.  Unless it’s one of the agencies that answer everyone, in which case, you will get that delightful “thanks, but no thanks” letter, which, I will say, makes excellent wallpaper.